15 June

Let’s have music

I have a song book which divides Christmas music into three categories:

  1. Christmas hymns are sung in church and may be hundreds of years old.
  2. Christmas carols are traditional, non-church songs from before the 20th century.
  3. Modern Christmas songs date from the twentieth century to now. I like to split this group into sub-categories:
    1. old – which means that it was around before you discovered pop music[1]
    2. new – songs that became popular after you discovered pop music[2]

Hymns are always religious (quelle surprise), carols may or may not be religious[3] and modern songs also may or may not be about the coming of the messiah. This means there is some Christmas music you can revel in regardless of your spiritual bent and I’ll sort the (nativity) sheep from the (Yule) goats for you later on.

But I would like to mention “The Holly and the Ivy” now because it’s not suitable for anyone. Here’s a sample verse:

The holly bears a berry, as red as any blood, and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to do poor sinners good.

You can see that this is too Christian for anyone who doesn’t worship Jesus but it’s also too pagan for anyone who does.[4]

15 jun 2016.jpg
The holly bears a berry as red as any strawberry but, unfortunatley, inedible and suitable for neither jams nor pickles.

I asked my son Jeremy if he had any ideas for a present for his cousin Jack. He suggested a drone or a hip flask (which is an endearing mix of the old and new worlds) but neither appealed to me.

[1] Definitely “White Christmas” for nearly everyone alive today.

[2] My sister Wendy is scathing about Wham’s “Last Christmas” which, she says, makes no sense at all. Her husband Don mildly points out that it is no worse than filling the wine keg while draining the barrel (fa la la la la, la la la la).

[3] There are quite a few about drinking – of which more later.

[4] And my brother Matthew likes to point out that the ivy only appears in the title of the song, so it’s also a fraud.

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